This post was written by Aileen Song, a former analyst in the Boston Fed’s Division of Research and Statistics, and Tyler Gronwold, a CFA candidate in the Program for Management Scholars at Northeastern University.
Until the end of 2012, while earning her master’s degree in economics, Erika Chavez was working as a security guard. After receiving her degree, however, she followed an increasingly common route in the financial world, and turned to consulting. A year and a half later, she joined the Boston Fed’s research staff. To celebrate her first semester there, she wrote this post (in Spanish) in a Facebook group for MBA professionals who move to the U.S. and research at the Fed.
Q: What are the best tips or tricks you can offer others who are in this situation?
While you can’t go into detail about the specifics of your employment situation, you can probably find some information on the web. Often, these answers are help guides and don’t directly address your specific situation. I think what I’ve shared can be helpful to other employment-seeking researchers.
Your “how to” list will most likely include the critical steps of writing a proposal and filling out a resume. You can give yourself a few minutes to reflect on whether it is time to engage in that task (however you choose to do it), and then finally take the time to finish it. It will also include tips for interviewing and how to answer some follow-up questions. These can be downloaded as pdfs for further reference.
Q: When will you know if you have the job that you want?
Because it can take some time to fill out the right forms, it’s reasonable to anticipate having a few meetings with your manager and whoever will be interviewing you.
To me, the more important question is not whether you have the job that you want, but whether you are comfortable with the steps involved and ready to take them. For example, does it feel like you’ve had more than one interview and are you ready to accept the invitation? Does your resume seem ready to go into a new online format?
Q: If you are not sure if you will get the job, how should you proceed?
Once you feel better about your options, and that you are comfortable in terms of your self-assessment, you can make the decision to go for it. I’d encourage you to do a job search before you take the formal step of applying for a job. If you are fortunate, you may have a job lined up before you are ready to apply for the one you want.
If you are not sure if you will get the job, how should you proceed?
There are a number of things you can do while you are waiting. If you have a social media presence, look to create a LinkedIn profile. It can help you determine how well you know your company and fellow employees. Have you spoken to potential references? I would encourage you to use this time to get their full view of you and the job that you are applying for.
Finally, you can write a letter of recommendation, which may help you land the job.
Some employers will give you the benefit of the doubt and consider including your recommendation on the first set of background checks.
Have you ever moved to a new area and wanted to work in an emerging field? In looking for jobs, it can be tempting to settle into a permanent occupation because it may feel like that’s the only way to make it as a researcher. I know that it is frustrating to not get your ideal job, and I want to reassure you that moving out of your comfort zone and trying out different industries can lead to great results.